tv [untitled] May 23, 2012 4:00pm-4:30pm EDT
a veteran political reporter. you always use that word veteran. >> it means old. >> better you say that be i do. >> with the cbs owned station wcco-tv in minneapolis. he's been covering candidates and conventions and campaigns since the mid-'80s. and has a popular segment called "reality check." that's also designed to help viewers separate fact from fiction and i will mention that in your own station bio, it says that the political world, according to the station anyway, is often more fiction than fact. >> snims and finally gyms pindell at the end of the table political director at wmur.com in manchester, new hampshire, that little state way up in the north that is so important this time of the year. >> you forgot to add the word junior for mine since i am about
14 if you hadn't noticed in my face. >> you can keep us all young then. james also provides on air political analysis for the tv station wmur. and the washington post called him the insider's insider for his coverage of new hampshire politics. so please join me in welcoming the panel today. let's take a look at what they brought. [ applause ] >> so greg, let's start with you. >> okay. all right. >> i brought two truth tests. first of all, thanks to dr. jamieson and the annenberg public policy center and mike for you for heading this panel. and i'm glad that you picked three reporters that we have distinctly different names, you know, reality tag, trufst test.
it would have been bad if you had two reporters and they both had truth test. we are a hearst station and fact checking, truth testing whatever you want to call it, giving -- pointing out distortions and lies and mistruths is something that we have done in orlando since august of 2002. actually, the first truth test we did was not on a commercial. it was when charlie crist, the former governor of florida was running for attorney general and his opponent put up a billboard that said that it took through times for him to pass the bar exam. so we decided to truth test that. it was an idea that our news director at the time had, and then he said after that, why don't we do that on television on television ads. >> was it true or false? >> it was true. >> really? >> yeah, charlie crist did take three times to pass the bar exam. so we decided to go at that point and then go through different ads and we've been doing that ever since in different election cycles.
this year is going to be the busiest year we have. we typically doll somewhere between august and november in a general election year somewhere between 24 and 27 ads. you know while we're trying to fit in whatever else we do to cover politics because it takes an enormous amount of time to research some of these things. so we don't do as many as we'd like but this year we're probably going to be on course to do more than we've done before. just in the way of numbers, i know we've talked about some numbers here today to kind of bring this home to folks here in washington, when you talk about the $200 million plus dollars the super pacs have raised so far, much of which will be spent on these ads, you're talking about more money than the washington nationals made last year, more than three times the salary of the washington wizards and just about what it costs for two good tickets to a redskins
game. more than half of that, about $110 million has been spent so far. i'm going to give you numbers at the end of the two truth tests i'm going to show you as far as ratings go. we had our research department do that because we have had a number of news directors that i've talked to in recent years that say you know, we don't have the resources to do that. i know there was a discussion in the last panel that will resources can be a challenge in smaller market stations but again, you know, i would also point out that you know james works in not a gigantic market up in manchester. but it's important. and so they do it. so i think sometimes hey, we're a small market is a bad excuse. okay? they can do it. our first ad is actually one we did last week, and i know the folks at politifact also did this. there's been these chamber ads especially attacking democrat congressional and senate candidates and not just in florida but in ohio, in hawaii,
they all take the same theme. they just change the faces in the ad. so this is one attacking democrat incumbent u.s. senator from florida, bill nelson. >> florida senator bill nelson is taking a beating in a new political attack ad. >> it claims the health care overhaul supported by nelson will leave millions of people without coverage. >> greg fox puts these claims through our exclusive truth test. >> obama care will be a nightmare for florida seniors. >> here in the news world, our weather people use the phrase chamber of commerce day when it's bright and sunny. but in the political world, a chamber of commerce day usually means a category 5 hurricane making landfall on mostly democratic candidates. here's the latest from the u.s. chamber trying to scare florida's 3 million senior citizens attacking florida senator bill nelson. >> did bill nelson consider the consequences when he cast the deciding vote for obama care. >> let's bring up the truth
meter. the ad says nelson cast the deciding vote on the act. false. nelson was according to the roll call vote one of 60 senators who voted for the patient protection and affordable care act. actually, it was not bill nelson but rather nebraska senator ben nelson who was last among senators to support the health care overhaul. that according to senate majority leader harry reid's office. funny the chamber of commerce actually gave $5,000 to ben nelson's campaign, apparently one of the few democrats favored by the group. now nelson tries to get a word in. >> this legislation is going to let folks that are happy with their insurance keep it. >> wrong, 20 million people could lose their current coverage. >> once again, let's bring up the truth meter. this one we're going to have to leave hovering in the middle because in fact, the congressional budget office did release a report on employment-based health insurance that spelled out a range of scenarios. cowan result in a reduction of 20 million people being
eninsured but that very same report predicts 3 to 5 million fewer. now back to the part of the commercial aimed at frightening seniors. >> including our senior citizen who are on medicare. >> senator, seniors will see $500 billion in cuts to fund obama care. >> this is an easy one for the truth meter. it rings false. here's why, that $500 billion is the amount the government aims to prevent in unnecessary spending hikes for medicare down the road. in fact, according to the cbo report cited in the microfine print in this ad, spending for medicare would actually increase by $732 billion through 2021. and the health care reforms will decrease federal deficits by $210 billion. the name of this ad is nightmare, but the chamber is simply dreaming if it expected to get away with thesedy distorses. with the truth test, i'm greg
fox. >> do you want me to just go onto the next one? >> yeah. >> the next one was -- and we can talk about on the other side here. the other one was from back in january. a lot of money was spent heading up to our primary election on the 31st of january. this was an ad attacking rick santorum. >> as the candidates look beyond this weekend's south carolina primary to florida, as the political ads are starting to fill up on our tvs, greg fox puts a new one attacking rick santorum to the it the truth test. >> barack obama knows four facts about rick santorum that you don't. >> this new ad might make you believe it's coming from the president's re-election campaign but it's not. it's from the super pac restore our future which is spending at least $3.6 million through the end of this month just in the florida on tv ads attacking the republican opponents of mitt romney. let's bring up the truth meter. is it true that barack obama knows four things about rick
santorum that you don't? >> he false. after the media attention surrounding what the candidates have and have not done in recent months, no one would believe that. >> santorum pushed for billions in wasteful pork. >> he wasn't alone. the former pennsylvania senator was one of 91 senate members to vote for a massive highway bill in july 2005 that included more than 6300 ear mashes, money that lawmakers tuck into big bills to support projects in their home states. in fact, this web ad from the rick perry campaign that pokes fun at santorum appears to be openly supporting ear marks in a fox news interview. >> had a lot of ear marks. i'm very proud of all the emarks i put in bills. >> whether or not they're the wasteful is a matter of opinion. the ad points out some of the more unusual earmarks. >> voting for a road to nowhere. >> were these items included in the bill for which he voted yea?
the truth meter rings true. the bridge to nowhere used against most incumbents in the last two election cycles would have cost taxpayers $220 million to build a bridge to replace the island ferry in alaska serving 50 residents and an airport. the teapot museum in sparta, north carolina is primarily a place for the teapot's collection of more than 6,000 teapots. and yes, a group in carlville, iowa, has been talking about a rain forest that was earmarked for $50 million of your tax dollars to be used as a tourist attraction. but in each of these three cases, your tax money was never spent because the projects were killed or required rd matching dollars. >> santorum voted to raise the debt limit five times. increasing spending and debt by $3 trillion. >> this is an easy one for the truth meter. it rings true. according to the records of the
congressional research service and the library of congress, santorum voted to raise the debt limit half a dozen times. >> and he even voted to let convicted felons vote. >> santorum himself address this had claim during the south carolina debate this week when he asked romney if elden felons who have served their time and completed probation the opportunity to vote. since the ad implies santorum voted ten years ago to allow convicts to cast ballots from behind bars, the claim is false. santorum further pointed out in the debate that romney allowed reformed felons to vote when he served as governor of massachusetts. >> so how will santorum beat obama? obama knows he can't. restore future's responsible for the content of this advertising. >> does the president know santorum can't beat him? the truth meter rings false. after all, voters have yet to decide. with the truth test, i'm greg fox. >> there you go.
>> thank you, greg. we'll come back to that and others. let's go up north to minneapolis. pat? >> minneapolis where the cbs oiowcco television, we've been doing realty checks since about 1990 thanks to brooks jackson and kathleen hall jamieson. back in 1990, we attended a seminar where their concept was discussed and we thought well, why not do it locally? why should we not do it? we began to do it more and more. there's an ebb and flow to all of this on -- in lean years, we can't do as much and in fat years, we do a little bit more. but we also have a lot of production that we have to do. those are fantastic. it takes a long time to do that. we have to dedicate a lot of people, producers, graphics. we have to take a reporter off, sometimes a producer to do this. so i was very interested to hear in the last panel, kevin,
talking about the cost of this. and there is a cost. what we have tended to do just in the last coup of years since 2008 when the bad economy hit everyone, we've had a lot of layoffs and i'm sure many of your stations and companies have had that. and we've begun to compress it and now we're expanding a little bit. as this political year begins, we are now dedicating ourselves to doing a lot more of reality checks, and like orlando, we were doing one a week. maybe sometimes a little more a week. it takes about two days i think for us to write, research and produce these. so in the meantime, we are going in a couple of different directions. we also reality check, fact check billboards, campaign speeches. and just comments and interviews. and that's what we've been doing. what i brought with me today was
an example of some of the things we have to do that we like to call quick strike. we do these within hours as all the other reporters here, i'm sure. i cover government. i cover our state legislature and constitutional officers. so i spend my days at the state capitol. it is only rarely that i'm able to go off on the campaign trail, but we have, we were fortunate enough to have two great candidates for president, michele bachmann and tim pawlenty gave us a lot of material. we've also have a history of great material in minnesota from jesse ventura, to paul wellstone to al franken and norm coleman and now our sister state wisconsin, we have the scott walker recall, which we also have a tremendous just a tremendous opportunity to fact check what these candidates say. minnesota is not going to be a
battleground state. generally, we are thought in this presidential campaign to be purple. we lean democratic. but we don't expect it to be a battleground state per se. however, we have a major market in minneapolis, st. paul. and we bleed into iowa and also to wisconsin, so we will get a lot of this. as a matter of fact, we very already seen major buys, advance buys for the fall in minneapolis-st. paul. they're already starting to monitor that. so we are going to see that. i am surprised that we have not seen yet much of the recall advertising for western wisconsin but we do also expect that in just the next couple of weeks. i'd like to talk more about that and also the challenges and cost of being a reporter trying to put this together. but i have to thank in addition to our patron saints our
management. you have to have managers who actually believe in it and allow to you go off and do this. we talk about the high production values and again, beautiful. we do that during election years. what i brought with me were a couple of examples. maybe i'll just show you one of them. but this is something that we've learned how to move a little more quickly. we simplify and we focus on one thing that a candidate says. and in this case, it is michele bachmann whom i traveled with on the presidential campaign. and there was all sorts of things that we were able to fact check with her and she's just a fascinating, fascinating candidate. but this one in particular after a night of one of these great republican primary debates, she went after governor rick perry on the hpv vaccine and the
pandaer to injection she called it inoculation. the vaccinations of these young girls this texas. but that wasn't exactly the whole story. what happened after that of was that on nbc in the morning, she said that someone had come up to her after the debate and told her that it caused in her words mental retardation. and so quickly we were able to move on that and took us about three to four hours to research and write this. and plugged into a format. that's what i'm going to show you here. >> michele bachmann's presidential campaign has gone viral. literally. bachmann is under fire for comments that some are calling reckless that the hpv vaccination may be dangerous. as pat kelsey reports, she's not backing down. here's reality check. >> health care professionals say her comments about hpv are not just untrue, they could do
serious daniel to efforts to immunize millions of preteen girls. >> i had a mother last night come up to me here in tampa, florida, and told me that her little daughter took that vaccine, that injection, and she suffered from mental retardation thereafter. >> that is false. hpv is safe and almost 100% effective against cervical cancer. it's administered to preteen girls because it's most effective before sexual activity begins. 35 million doses have been given. side effects are rare. there's not a single case of what bachmann calls mental retardation. that's not the whole story. the cdc says 38% of minnesota girls completed the three-dose series of hpv vaccines last year, up from 27% in 2009. that's still far below the 50% rate health professionals say is
necessarier to effectively immunize preteens. bachmann's refusing to retract her statements or apologize but she released a video attacking texas governor rick perry for ordering that texas girls receive the vaccine. >> as a mom of three daughters, i believe that parents are the ones who should decide whether or not our young daughters should receive injections for sexually transmitted diseases. >> meanwhile, there is a big reward available related to bachma bachmann's claim. two bioethicists are offering money to charity if she can produce a verified id vaccine victim suffering from mental retardation. neither bachmann nor her campaign have responded. >> and that was never paid, that reward, that $11,000. i think it was art kaplin and bioethicist at the university of minnesota. my life shot was cut out of that particular one. normally we do this live where i
would be live at the capitol or live on the scene wherever i am. if we have time i'll show one more. that's about 1:20. >> let's go on to james if we could. >> yes. >> james? >> show us what you have. >> thank you for having me on this panel. these folks have been doing had for such a long time. i'm relatively new to tv, been covering politics force about ten years. i'm new to wmur. i've been here about two years. wmur is in a very unique space, probably one of the local affiliates that a number of people in washington happen to know off the tip of their tongue. we are the best tv station in new hampshire. we are the only tv station in new hampshire. we are technically part of the boston media market, but because new hampshire is not only prominent during our presidential primary, but we are also a swing state, we have been
since basically '92, though adam climber can probably correct me if i'm incorrect. but bill clinton won that year and since republicans have only won one election barely george bush because of ralph nader. all of the races have been within single digits except for clinton's re-election in '96. john kerry won the state by two points, for example. right now the state is way too close to call. we just put out a poll showing basically that 90% of democrats are with obama, 90% are with mitt romney and independents within the margin of error. currently right now, we have the mitt romney super pac which is airing a fairly positive ad. we have crossroads, which i know politifact just put out a fact check on. and their ad about obama and debt.
and then we're also having barack obama talking about his auto bailouts currently on the air. that ad is also running in the boston market which is significantly more expensive but to remind geographically most of the state, about two-thirds of new hampshire lives within 45 minutes or so of the border of massachusetts and a significant amount of the population, roughly half easily, could work in massachusetts. they don't. we're considered part of that market. when i first came to mur, i did not consider doing fact checking. management pushed it. they said from the get-go, look, we fwhu citizens united and figured this is going to a very important -- new hampshire in particular, wmur is going to be very important to that aspect because we're obviously a lot cheaper than the boston market stations and at the same time, we're the targeted audience.
and i should say for a full disclosure, that our building at wmur is also called -- to show you how important political advertising is, it's called the house that steve forbes built based off of his political advertising. this is a very big deal for us. what we started doing is a number of fact checks not just on campaign ads but also on the campaign trail. here's the weird thing. it was all in preparation for our new hampshire primary. fwhul particular new hampshire primary, while i know particularly florida had so much advertising, we didn't. we really didn't. in fact, i call this lamest new hampshire primary we've had since 1960, and i mean it. in terms of advertising, there really wasn't a lot. mitt romney went on to win the state by 19 points. that was a hurnge factor of tha.
a super pac from jon huntsman asked wouldn't it be great if there was a candidate. yes, there is one, jon huntsman and never said his name. the other one is a ron paul super pac. i call it the monster truck ad. ron paul is as big as an f-150. but for us, in fact checking, it was on our air which is the first component of why we would fact check it and second, you'd have to have some level of contrast or something to fact check. we didn't run a lot during the election. what i did for these clips, i picked from our last u.s. senate election in 2010 someone you may know. her name is kelly ayotte because it may be more appropriate she's on the vp veepstakes. the first one is about her maybe and then the next one about her democratic opponent paul holds. . >> u.s. senate candidate kelly ayotte uses this ad to attack
bill binny for being too liberal. >> >> the purpose of this ad is to help define binny during a time when he is spending heavily with his own advertising focused on his background in business and creating jobs. halfway through this ad, ayotte makes three claims about his stands on immigration, bank bailouts and taxes. let's break down each claim. >> i'm not going to pander to you. i don't believe in the arizona law. >> so is the claim true or false? it is false. supporting the concept of amnesty or letting illegal immigrants become legal immigrants without any punishment for breaking the law is a big no, no in republican primaries. but binny has consistently said he opposes amnesty including in the union leader op-ed he wrote. for their claim, the ayotte campaign points to this sentence which said plastics entrepreneur bill binnie favors a bath to
citizenship for illegal. immigrants. note he wasn't quoting saying he supported a pathway. that's all ayotte had to back up their claim. is our second claim truly or false? it's also false. at one of the first forums featuring all four senate candidates in january, binnie was asked whether he would support the t.a.r.p. program back in 2008 at a time when many people felt the american economy was on the brink of ruin. some called this the bank bailout bill. here's what he said that the forum. >> so sitting here today i'm not sure is the honest answer. i'd like to think that i wouldn't have, but i know an awful lot of people and done many billions worth of transactions myself who thought it was the right thing at the right time. smart men and women who were in the firing line, if you will. so it's easy to criticize. >> so in his own words, he said he was unsure how he would vote. but that he hoped he would have
voted against it and not for it. maybe it was a candid moment for a novice political candidate but he never said he supported it hans since repeated his opposition to bailouts in general. last, there is this claim. >> european-style taxes. >> this claim once again is false. the ayotte campaign points to a form in windham last may when binnie was asked about taxes more broadly. in a back and forth with the questioner, he said, i'm for looking at a value added tax. in lieu of that, i don't think that will practically happen in the next few years. i'm for dramatic clilt simplifying the tax code. >> the value added tax is a type of consumption tax commonly used in europe. but as you will note from the clip, he said he is just in favor of considering it. along with other tax ideas. he didn't say he likes a value added tax or that he would even propose a bill for it if
elected. but note this ad where ayotte does get it right. >> binnie is open to a european added value tax. >>. >> one thing you see on there that was helpful, i go to a ton of events. often i can't get a camera there. i know these events exist. what's been so helpful is youtube. if i can get the candidate in his own words in the referencing, it's very helpful. >> good, good. of great work all. do you want to -- do you have one more that you want to show? >> we can show another one if you have time. >> yeah, let's go ahead and do it real quick. >> you can do the -- whichever one you want i guess. paul hoeds was the opponent, actually, i want to do paul hodes because it was a third party ad but i want to do guns
because it's kelly ayotte. >> which one do you want? >> i guess the second one. yeah, second one. >> i'm bill binnie. >> in this ad from u.s. senate candidate bill binnie bob clegg questions can the conservative credentials of his opponent former attorney general kelly ayotte. >> soft on illegals and soft on guns. >> the ad makes two central claims. the first involving gun rights. >> look, i'm a conservative republican. and kelly opposed our second amendment right to defend ourselves against criminals with a gun. >> so is the claim true or false? this one is true. at issue here is something second amendment advocates call the castle doctrine as in you have the right to shoot to kill while defending your home or your castle. some 23 states have some form of the castle doctrine in state law includingur